05 March 2009

Downsizing, Layoffs, & Closings, Oh My...
This is something we've ALL been hearing about for quite some time, and many others of us have actually "felt the pinch" of such operations (more like a COW BITE these days), but now we're hearing about two closing in nearby Decatur Indiana, which could spell some serious trouble for this small town.
Two manufacturing companies, Fleetwood RV and Formula Boats, that cater to those of greater wealth than the average Joe, have been the target of recent layoffs, and these two companies are responsible for employing quite a few hundred people in this town.
Having so many suddenly on the dole will place a strain ON that town (and it's working-class citizens), as it has done in many other small towns across this nation.
Rather than lay off people, and wind up possibly closing the plants (or selling them to another larger company that will use them for a tax write off), why not become daring in scope and innovative in concept instead?
Okay, so a lot fewer people want RVs...how's about taking that "leap of faith" , and get Fleetwood RV into the realm of ROBOTIC military vehicles? Be nice to have an ambulance on the battlefield to get our wounded warriors OUT of harm's way without placing more soldiers in danger.
Think about it...it's sure got potential, and unmanned warfare seems to be the "hot lick" these days., whether it's in the air, on the land, or on the sea.
There is a market for it.
Wouldn't take ALL that much to retool for something like that, and could very well become a major HUB of military contract companies.
Think of the possibilities...and the revenues
Same goes for Formula Boats.
Unmanned craft that can act as interdiction vessels until manned units arrive has got a lot of people at the Pentagon agog with this idea.
With both companies placing design concepts and prototypical units at the ready, this has the possibility of securing some serious jobs and needed tax revenues for that town , as well as the county itself.
I mention this because it was the CAR COMPANIES that made it possible for THIS nation (and her allies) to WIN World War II, through sheer numbers. And we had a lot more than "just three" companies back then.
If you recall, NO CARS were produced during the war years. Everyone was too busy making TANKS, JEEPS, TRUCKS, PLANES, and SHIPS.
If such innovation was achieved BEFORE, it can be done AGAIN.
Just a thought...
When it comes to American car companies thee days, the "yawn factor" is REAL high on MY list.
With VERY few exceptions, the cars we make here are nothing short of cookie-cutter machinations, much like all the Asian imports. It's harder to tell the difference between a Mazda and a Ford (Ford owns Mazda, btw), or between Mitsubishi and Dodge (more bedfellows).
American car companies have laid off thousands of workers, closed dozens of plants and lost BILLIONS of bucks along the way. And now, we're seeing the Japanese doing likewise, asking for THEIR government to help "bail THEM out".
Americans are just NOT BUYING cars these days, preferring to keep what they have and get them fixed.
I haven't bought a car in damn near TWENTY SIX YEARS!
Why is that, you say?
Well, I LIKE the car (actually love the car, but we won;t get into the transference thing). I like the way it rides, the way it handles, and the overall shape of it.
And it STILL gets 25-27 MPG on the highway...about 20 MPG in the city.
Not too bad for a carburetor-infested V-6 with some serious years behind it, eh? If the car makers would just ASK THE CONSUMER what the hell they want, MAYBE we'd be selling more cars...'ya think?
See, we got into this "creature-comfort" gig decades ago, and we never let go. We became addicted to all the bells & whistles tossed at us, and we found ourselves buying more and more imports, until THOSE car makers built factories HERE. Then we felt better, because THESE cars were "built in America". How insidious this all became.
And we lapped it up on cue like Pavlov's dog!
Used to be, when you got a car, you had an "option" list, and many times, that list was pretty damn sparse. You might be able to get something like an AM-FM cassette radio, or AIR CONDITIONING as an "add on" feature, usually for a substantial increase in the BASE PRICE of the vehicle.
Hell, even ELECTRIC WINDOWS and LOCKS were "extra".
Not anymore.
You get ALL that crap for "free" .
(the base price has gone up considerably as a result).
Now who NEEDS all that fuel-sapping crap anyway?
And who NEEDS 300+ BHP to go from 0-60 in UNDER 6 seconds?
(Hey, I'm not at the drag strip...are you? All I ask for is a good power-to-weight ratio, and that's easily achievable...the rest will take care of itself, no matter what road I drive on)
Can't we MANUALLY lock our doors, or crank down our windows any longer? Have we become a nation of "physically-challenged" people, all of a sudden? Or are we just plain LAZY?
Either way, what we NEED to do here, is get back to basic transportation, and let the "after-market" profiteers and shops add crap on that we might "want" to burden our vehicles with. That's the kind of thing that fuels CAPITALISM, and that's what runs this nation.
You want a "performance package"?
Fine, take it to a shop and let a PRO add that stuff on.
You want a GPS system?
Fine, go out and BUY one to ADD to the car.
And for God's sake, let's get the automakers producing cars that LOOK GOOD again...please!
The technology exists to make fuel-efficient vehicles, no matter WHAT fuels them, and the technology exists to make NICE LOOKING vehicles, thanks to computer simulation modelling.
Let's not "heavy down" these vehicles with B/S we don't really need, but just desire...
The pioneers didn't have all that luxury crap in their Conestoga wagons or buckboards, and they fared OK.
Henry Ford had the right idea with his original Model T.
It was BASIC, got the job done, ran on damn near anything from gasoline to moonshine, and allowed a lot more people to take to the roads at a fair price.
As the world's premiere leader in such innovations, history is our barometer that shows us we've done it before, and by God, I really believe we CAN do it again.
All WE have to do...is want it BAD enough, like that DVD player in the rear seat for the kids...(rolls eyes)...rrrright.
OK, bad example...LOL!
Or we can keep driving the crap they shove at us, go to McD's, order some "Pigeon McNuggets" and then dial *911* (several times) when they don't have them (like that dumbass I read about recently)
In the meantime, I'll keep driving that 26 year-old Firebird, (ala Elvis) thankyouverymuch.
(Bob has left the building)...LOL!
Stay safe out there America.


indy said...

i like automatic locking doors. when you have a kid its nice to make sure everyone is in. and the door is locked to keep someone out immedently. i like it with the alarm. not really to stop someone but to cause a scean in the parking lot if needed. i like windows that are auto. easier to roll down. and up. my arms have muscle cramps in them after a long day at work. i like my seat to feel good. i have back problems. i like a cd player. in rush hour it beats talk and more talk. and i love an air conditionar. been without one for 3 years becouse my older cars been broke that long for the air. trust me. you feel more energized when you get home when you have some air in the car. now the onstar and satalite radio i could do without the new world order tracking device implanted in my car under the guise of they will help save us in an emergancy.

even my 99 corolla with 170,000 miles on it gets better gas milage then this new car. but i wont trade eithor for the world.

Bob G. said...

YOu brought up a good point...electric SEATS.
I also have back issues, and being able to "customize" it for my back is nice (only my wife's car has that..with my car, I'm on my own...LOL)
I think my car's seat has adjusted to MY back over the years!

The A/C is nice (mine doesn't work), but there is something to having your hair blowing around with the wind on your face, especailly on a long drive.

As to everything else?
I can live w/o it.
And after I'm dead...it really won't matter, even if my wife BURIES me IN MY CAR (which I'm thinking about)...will it?


Thanks for the comment.